We've seen single-molecule "motors" before, but they're pretty primitive, motors only in the most basic sense of the word. But this new one, made of a single butyl methyl sulfide molecule, is much closer to what images the word "motor" might conjure: when electricity is applied, the molecule is triggered to spin, without affecting any other molecules around it.
BAE Systems's Adaptiv technology enables objects as big as tanks to completely vanish from view--when seen at night with an infrared sensor, admittedly, but that's still a major advantage. An Adaptiv-outfitted tank can change its thermal signature to look like anything from a big rock to a truck to nothing at all, fading into the background and becoming invisible.
It's an aviation story so cool we're kind of upset we didn't hear about it a month ago when it happened. Back on August 12th electrical and aerospace engineer Pascal Chretien, working with the backing of French company Solution F, made the world's first untethered, all-electric manned helicopter flight. And it didn't even show up on our radars--probably because he only reached an altitude of about one metre.
Researchers on two continents are reporting two big breakthroughs in quantum computing today - a quantum system built on the familiar von Neumann processor-memory architecture, and a working digital quantum simulator built on a quantum-computer platform. Although these developments are still constrained to the lab, they're yet another sign that a quantum leap in computing may be just around the corner.
Researchers at Stanford University just published a study in Nature that may give new hope to those looking to stop the effects of aging on the brain. The study found that when blood from a young mouse was injected into an older mouse, that older mouse enjoyed what could almost be termed a "rejuvenation effect": it began producing more neurons, firing more activity across synapses, and even suffered less inflammation.
When most people think of simulating a volcano, they think of baking soda, vinegar, and third grade science fair projects. A team of British researchers are thinking more along the lines of a giant balloon the size of a soccer stadium and a 12-mile garden hose that can pipe chemicals into the stratosphere to slow global warming. And they're planning to test their hypothesis soon, sending a scaled down version of their sky-hose-balloon-thing skyward in the next few months.
For now at least, the moon is like the sea: everyone can use it, but no one can own it. In 1967 the U.S. and the Soviet Union negotiated the Outer Space Treaty, which states that no nation can own a piece of the moon or an asteroid. "You have a right to go up and take the lunar soil, but you don't have any right to draw a square on the surface of the moon and say, 'That square is mine,' "says Stephen E. Doyle, a retired lawyer who served as NASA's Deputy Director of Internal Affairs. If the Space Settlement Institute-which lobbies for private industry to develop land on other planets-has its way, new laws will allow space colonists to stake moon claims and start a colony.
Discovered during a dig through the FCC's experimental radio applications by Steven J. Crowley, it has come to light that North American Eagle is trying to install what will presumably be the fastest-moving Wi-Fi network on the ground--because it's being built inside a vehicle designed to break the world land speed record (and the sound barrier) at 1280 kilometres per hour.
Scientists have tracked down another goldilocks planet 31 light-years from Earth, and according to astronomers it has some strong points in its favor when it comes to the possibility of harboring the ingredients for life. HD85512b orbits an orange dwarf in the constellation Vela, and it's just the right distance from the sun--and just the right mass--to rank among the most Earth-like planets ever discovered.
All the new breakthroughs in microscopy we've seen recently are designed to help scientists see deeper, inside individual cells and into the depths of the brain. Of course, this would be easier to do if there wasn't a bunch of other tissue blocking the cells you want to see. Japanese researchers have a new solution: Make it all transparent.
We caught a preview of Sony's odd, space-agey head-mounted viewer (appealingly named the HMZ-T1) back at CES in January, but we were pretty surprised to learn that not only is it not a mere demo, Sony's actually planning on, like, putting the thing in stores, where you can exchange currency for it and then take it home. Sony claims it offers an incredibly immersive 3-D experience, better than any TV. We've now played with it twice, and in some ways, that's true.
A Florida funeral home has debuted a new alternative to cremation, known as the Resomator, that uses heated alkaline water to dissolve bodies in about three hours. Why do we need an alternative to cremation in the first place? Turns out cremation devices use lots of energy, release a fair amount of carbon emissions, and, in the U.K., are responsible for 16% of mercury emissions.
It took nearly a year of high-powered number crunching on various supercomputers, but researchers from the University of California Santa Cruz campus and the Institute for Theoretical Physics in Zurich, Switzerland have finally produced a computer simulation of a galaxy that looks much like our own. That may not sound so huge at face value, but it actually is the first high-resolution simulation of its kind that has turned out a galaxy similar to the Milky Way, and it has rescued the prevailing "cold dark matter" cosmological model of how our disc galaxy formed from a good deal of doubt.
Dr. Jason Steffen, an astrophysicist at Fermilab, came up with a method he claimed could cut airplane boarding times drastically about two years ago. More recently, he tested several different methods of boarding, complete with video: Boarding as we do it now (blocks of fliers, boarding from the back of the plane to the front), compared with a random boarding system and a careful one of his own design. Those three methods, by the way, are in ascending order of effectiveness.